Your Body Language
Body language has always been a telling communicator. It’s often more honest than our spoken words. The best communication is always genuine and honest communication. Have you ever taken the time to realize what the personal or professional stresses of your life might be communicating to other people? Once you have an awareness of body language, you’ll soon start to consciously notice it in almost everyone you meet. You can bet that many people are aware of it in you too. Check out a few of my favorite tips on how to improve your own body language and also read what other people’s body language is REALLY telling you.
Private Personal Power Booster:
If you’re feeling a bit tentative and would like to come across with more confidence, try practicing this little move in private. Lean back with your hands behind your head and your feet up on a desk. Or, stand with your arms and legs stretched completely outward. Research has shown that even a few minutes in either of these positions stimulates your hormones linked to personal power, having a higher tolerance for risk, and lowering your level of stress!
Be A Better Listener:
It’s important to hear what people have to say, but you should also make sure that they know you’re listening. Lean towards them slightly, nod, and make eye contact. These non-verbals show your focus and attentiveness to them! The process also heightens your own personal awareness. It’s a win-win!
Hand Shaking 101:
One of the most powerful and effective non-verbal cue’s is the hand shake. It makes an impression about your perceived strength and warmth, or your lack thereof. A good hand shake is one that’s firm and direct, but not overbearing and vise-like. It’s also not appropriate to have a hand shake resembling the proverbial dead fish or the wet noodle. Remember, you’re engaging another person. Interaction is important in making a good impression. Be aware of what’s appropriate for the context of your greeting and act accordingly. A smile and direct eye contact is also in order when shaking hands. People will remember you better, and the good first impression will last!
A Smile Does A Body Good:
A nice genuine smile really impacts the way other people respond to you. Chances are that when you smile at someone, they in turn will almost always smile back at you. What exactly does a smile communicate? That you are approachable, trustworthy, and someone they have a comfort level with. Smiling goes a long way to uplift the feelings in the room. It’s effects are felt on both the conscious and sub-conscious levels. So smile!
You Don’t Have To Yell To Make A Point:
Sometimes the perception of your communication is that you’re yelling. What? If your normal speaking voice is direct and with authority, you might be coming across as yelling at the people you’re speaking to. It’s true. Perception is an important factor in how you present yourself. Try talking in a relaxed tone of voice so your optimal pitch is smooth and not rushed. You’ll elicit more cooperation and invite more acceptance and participation from those around you.
Be Aware Of Barriers:
One manager’s litmus test for how well his teams were working together is by how high they held their coffee cups. The more insecure a person is, the more they tend to hold things between themselves and others. There’s a big difference between someone holding something naturally at waist level versus holding it up at chest level. It can be anything that blocks the space between you and others. You’ll enjoy a greater level of collaboration and comfort with everyone around you if you remove the barriers that keep people at bay and on their alert.
Posture Is Everything:
Have you ever noticed that if you lean forward during a conversation, other people tend to lean forward too? Check it out. It’s been shown through studies that if you mirror other people’s body language, you will build rapport with that person, and mutual feelings of being on the same page. It’s an unsaid nurturing aspect of being understood and accepted.
Feet Don’t Lie:
If a person is under stress, there are telltale signs that help you to know their true feelings. Many times we become good at rehearsing our facial expressions, verbal deliveries, and even our hand and arm movements when talking with others. However, most people don’t ever think to rehearse their leg and foot movements. They may fidget or just move unnaturally. When you become aware of this, you may be amazed at just how often this part of a persons body language doesn’t match the message they’re trying to give.
How well we do in business, how we interact with our family and friends, and our communication skills in general are impacted consciously and subconsciously by the way we say things with our bodies. These nonverbal cues are always a source of impact on how well we deal with all the people around us. I hope these few ideas have been a helpful starting point for recognizing the way your own body tells the rest of the story you aren’t saying through your words. The greater your awareness, the better equipped you’ll be for successfully communicating with everyone.